Boy, 9, attacked by gator in Central Fla. speaks out

Trappers search for 9-foot gator that boy fought off in Lake Toho

By Erik Sandoval - Reporter

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - A 9-year-old boy spoke out for the first time on Friday, a day after he was attacked by an alligator in Central Florida.

James Barney told WKMG-TV he got hot while riding his bike Thursday afternoon, so he decided to go to Lake Toho to take a swim.

In the water, he said he felt something touch him, and he thought someone was playing with him underwater. Then, the alligator bit down on him.

"I hit it a couple times," James said. "Then it let go a little, and then I finally had enough strength left to pry its jaw open a little."

James said he swam to shore, where his friends called 911.

"I was scared. I didn't know what to do," he said.

He was transported to Arnold Palmer Medical Center in Orlando, where the staff called his father.

"I was freaking out, because they don't tell you much, you know," said James Barney, Sr. "I am at work, so I just called who I could and got here as quickly as possible."

His son had 30 teeth marks across his chest and back and scratch marks from the fight.

Searchers estimate they're looking for a 9 foot alligator that could weigh as much as 500 lbs.

WKMG-TV asked James if he planned on going back to Lake Toho to swim again.

"Negative," he responded.

Doctors said James should be able to leave the hospital Sunday after they switch him to oral antibiotics.

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